The Mystical & Wild Feminine Guatemala Retreat

Join Jess on a culturally immersive, yoga and adventure small group private retreat in Guatemala.

Tuesday, January 28 – Wednesday, February 5, 2025

Why join our next retreat?

If you like authenticity, delicious and authentic local food, comfy accommodations and living quarters, practicing yoga in spiritual places, and you like to go deeper within you while traveling, this is for you.

Our retreats are fully customized for women who are thirsty for deeply meaningful spiritual experiences. They want the best of what life has to offer, including authentic & adventurous travel, feeling empowered in their lives and experiences, and supporting causes and people they care about.

This is not a regular yoga retreat, but a full immersion into a new culture mentally, physically, and spiritually. Our yoga & meditation sessions are topped with exploring, tasting and seeing things that will refuel & recharge your body & soul.

After taking care of everyone else, let me be the one to take care of you through this experiential trip of a lifetime. We cater to your dietary needs and every participant receives their own room in beautiful accomodations.

This retreat will be 6 women total, Jess included.

Doors are open to join our 2025 retreat, click below to save your space!

A week abroad together

9 days total, including travel

Join Jess and a hand selected group of adventurous women in a culturally rich exploration of Antigua & Lake Atitlain in Guatemala. Jess plans & executes the travel from start to finish, from the adventure, to the menu, the connection with the locals and the guides, to teaching yoga and guiding you along the way.

Founded in the early 16th century, Antigua is one of the most colorful & iconic towns in Central America. It’s beautifully colonial, with cobbestone streets and fascinating ruins amidst unique shops and incredible eateries. Antigua is surrounded by 3 different volcanoes, some active (but not dangerous). It’s approximately 30 min – 1 hour from Guatemala City (depending on traffic).

Lake Atitlán is a lake in the Guatemalan Highlands of the Sierra Madre mountain range and is known to be one of the most beautiful lakes in the world (it was nominated to be one of the 7 wonders of the world). There are over 20 different indigenous Mayan languages spoken (Spanish is usually their second language). The Mayan culture runs strong here, and with its mix of Mayan and interesting expats, you’ll easily see why it is considered a spiritual mecca! There are many towns around the lake, many of which we’ll be visiting. Expect adventurous and breathtaking boat rides, and feeling completely immersed in its majesty and nature. Lake Atitlan is ~2 hours from Antigua and ~3 hours from Guatemala City.

These are some of the most spiritually meaningful places I’ve been to and I’m delighted to show you around, partake in the rituals from these sacred places, and share some of the best food, people and scenery life has to offer!

 

Itinerary

Day 1 – Arrive and spend the night in Antigua

Day 2 – Explore Antigua, bean to bar chocolate workshop, Cerveza El Bosque. Spend the night in Antigua.

Day 3 – Depart for Lake, stop for lunch, arrive 4 pm Casa Paloma with drinks, unwind & dinner

Day 4 – Morning grounding yoga, lunch and afternoon tour of San Juan, dinner at Casa Paloma

Day 5 – Morning cacao ceremony, afternoon debrief & relaxing, dinner in San Marcos

Day 6 – Morning yoga, Mayan shaman fire ceremony in the afternoon

Day 7 – Visit the nature Reserve at Panajachel, lunch at Hotel Atitlan, afternoon yoga and debrief, closing ceremony

Day 8 – Return to Guatemala City, repack, dinner & unwind

Day 9 – depart from Guatemala City

The Antigua Accommodation: Good Hotel

Good Hotel is a social business. This means that their excess profits go to good causes around the world. Good Hotel provides long-term unemployed people with the opportunity to build a career in hospitality and are conscious about the way they build the hotels. They find interesting locations to re-use and up-cycle, and from the furniture in the rooms to the food they serve – they source locally and sustainably.

With our stay at Good Hotel Antigua, all operational margin goes to Niños de Guatemala, a foundation that was co-founded in 2007 by Marten Dresen, the founder of the Good Hotel. It provides underprivileged local children with an education. At the moment there are 2 primary schools and a secondary school, which house over 600 children who would otherwise not have been able to go to school.

Imagine a former private mansion, which has breen re-purposed into a chic contemporary hotel. Minimalistic design infused with local touches, personalized service, and a social business model in the heart of UNESCO-protected Antigua, Guatemala.

Click on the photos to see them in detail.

The Lake Atitlan Retreat Center: Casa Paloma

Casa Paloma was founded by Joyce Maynard, a writer who fell in love with Lake Atitlan. We love working with Joyce and her local team, because we hold a shared value of deeply supporting the local culture and people. We aim to give back in as many ways as we can, while also immensely enjoying the local traditions and ways of living. Joyce even created new dwellings and guest houses during COVID, in order to provide 30 workers with jobs during the pandemic. She was even recently published in The New York Times, talking about how she fell in love with Guatemala and created Casa Paloma.

During our 5 night stay at Casa Paloma, we will be supporting local tour guides, chefs, artisans, gardeners, etc.

All meals at Casa Paloma are delicious, fresh and healthy—prepared with locally-grown produce and herbs and beautifully presented by their own wonderful local chef. There will be three meals daily (some at the center, some at different towns on the lake), as well as sunset snacks and mid-morning fruit, coffee/tea and Rosa’s signature natural fruit drinks, prepared fresh every day.

Casa Paloma is experienced at providing vegetarian, gluten-free options and adapting to food allergies. See a sample menu here.

Activities

Mayan Massage

One massage per person is included in your retreat. Casa Paloma offers a wide range of massage options—shiatzu, deep tissue, and more. Depending on the weather, they can set the massage table up on a private dock, with curtains, right by the water.

Bean to Bar Chocolate Workshop at Choco Museo

Learn the origin of chocolate and its history. Learn about the chocolate making process, from the cacao tree in the jungle to the chocolate you find at home. Make your own chocolate bar to take home or eat on your trip!

Yoga, Meditation & Healing with Jess

From retreat intentions, to nervous system and grounding yoga, to morning meditations on the dock, expect immersive yoga experiences to help you get settled, process, feel vibrant, and balance the travel and activities!

A visit to Panajachel and the Atitlan Nature Reserve

We’ll take a private boat over to Panajachel. From there, we’ll hop into some tuktuks and head over to the beautiful Atitlan Nature Reserve. From here, we will do a beautiful hike through the jungle, with waterfalls, rope bridges, monkeys, and coati! We’ll end with a gorgeous butterfly garden, taking in all the luscious local vegetation and fun jungle animals!

There is also the option for easier pathway walking, and zip lining! If you are wanting to schedule a zip line, please let Jess know. You can learn more about their zip lines here.

After our tour of the Nature Reserve (or your zip line tour), we’ll walk or Tuk Tuk over to the famous Hotel Atitlan. This iconic hotel used to be a coffee plantation, and its gardens are stunning and abundant to this day. Here we’ll eat lunch overlooking the pool, with a fantastic lakeside view.

Mayan shaman & fire ceremony

A multi generation Mayan shaman taking us on a journey, with a fire ceremony included. Expect to feel enriched by this deeply sprirutal and culturally significant ceremony, performed at the retreat center.

Temazcal

Enjoy traditional Mayan sauna while at the lakeside retreat center. Typically constructed of earth, stones, and clay, they are filled with heated stones doused with water to create steam and produce sweat. The people of Central America have performed temazcal ceremonies for centuries. They used the temazcal to treat a variety of illnesses and to inspire healing and balance. Even today, they remain a part of shamanistic culture.

Tour a cacao facility & enjoy ceremony

We will visit the Maya Moon cacao facility and see these local Maya women in action. This company directly supports single mothers and handicapped youth on the lake. They’ll also visit the retreat center to guide us through a cacao ceremony, one passed down for many generations!

A visit to the artisan workshops of San Juan la Laguna

The town of San Juan la Laguna, a short boat ride across the lake from San Marcos, is famous as a center for craftspeople of all kinds.

After a short private boat ride across the lake, we’ll start with lunch at our favorite spot, Cafe San Juan. They have great food and are our favorite place for stocking up on bags of coffee and phenomenal Guatemalan chocolate bars. They even have a small coffee plantation we can wander around in, & might be roasting coffee on site.

Then we’ll visits local markets, and stop at some galleries selling the work of local artists and weavers. Next is a women’s weaving collective for a demonstration of natural dyes and weaving (and a chance to purchase the work of the women at the collective).

Next, a street famous for its murals and colorful displays of suspended hats and umbrellas.

Get inspired by our past retreats in Guatemala

Click on the tabs to see our past experiences. ↑

What’s Included

  • All accommodations (8 nights total)
  • 3 meals a day & snacks from touchdown to take off: Tuesday (1/30) dinner – Wednesday (2/7) breakfast
  • 1 alcoholic beverage at meals while out and about
  • 1 (60 min) Mayan massage
  • All activities – yoga, ceremonies, tours, adventures, entrance fees, etc.
  • All transportation – private shuttles, boat rides, tuk tuks
  • Cacao Ceremony & 1 bag of Guatemalan cacao to take home
  • Retreat specific goodie bag with must haves and local extras!
  • Tips to our local guides & massage therapists
  • One group specific souvenir
  • Journaling prompts to stay grounded & make the most of it
  • Pre trip group gathering (virtual or in person) to prepare
  • One pre-trip Intentions & Clarity Call
  • One post-trip Integration & Reflection Call

What’s NOT Included

  • Airfare (We’ll let you know what flight we’re departing on from Houston, but you book it on your end!)
  • SHOPPING!
  • Extra Alcohol
  • Any extra tips you’d like to leave
  • Suggested: we strongly encourage travel insurance (ranging from ~$110-$250 to cover this type of trip); as well as adding an international plan to your phone carrier (Verizon is $10/day and easy)

How to Sign up for the Retreat

Deposit: $3995 | Total Cost: $8000

Reserve your spot by paying the $3995 deposit, due upon booking. Deposits are used to secure the facilities.

Jess will be in touch with information for you to book your flights, as well as scheduling pre trip calls, & preparation details.

The remaining amount will be charged 3 months prior to departure. Don’t worry, we’ll send you a reminder!

Grateful for the chance to participate in such a lifechanging trip!

“I was looking to deepen my spirituality through travel, and I got so much more. This tip helped me broaden my view by immersing myself in a different culture and taking part in rituals that helped me heal. I am so incredibly thankful for your guidance to such a magical place. The way you opened up your heart to show us this experience is so beautiful! I am so thankful!

– Erin

You kept a group of women in all varying stages of life, age, and abilities completely happy and totally satisfied on every day of this trip!

“I’ve been integrating the week which was so full of fun and depth! You covered everything – getting together with local women trying to better themselves. The ceremonies were awesome – the massages for everyone, the delicious meals, drinks – day trips – crafts and herbs and coffee and chocolate … making our own chocolate bar – I still eat a little piece every day…. and think of the heart opening ceremony and the culture of the Mayan people – the place – the lake – spectacular! The nature walk is also really great. I loved the little get-together in the morning – the mindful meditation and yoga stretches –  the sounds of the birds chirping, boats gliding through the lake – and the rustling of the wind. Really everything was so well planned and executed.”

– Tanya

I was as free in Guatemala as I was last week at work

“This trip was like an eraser board. I came back and saw my life so much clearer. I don’t desire to hide at home anymore, and I feel less annoyed with my daily life now. I used to fear change and new things. Now, they are not scary anymore. I went to a completely new country, a different culture, and felt at home. As if the Universe said, “We’ve got you!”I was connected to nature, felt free, and made friends who instantly understood and supported me. I have way more gratitude for myself, self-acknowledgment, and an immense sense of accomplishment.

– Tricia

I loved absolutely everything about Jess’ retreat

“I loved absolutely everything about Jess’ retreat! I loved the outdoor morning meditations! I’m not a big yoga person but I did love the yoga classes! Doing this outdoors was really a highlight AND hearing Jess’s beautiful voice! Oh my god that was so special! I loved all the oils, the glass container with the messages, the tarot cards we picked, being massaged, providing extra mats. I loved getting to know everyone! I loved that this was all women! I loved that we had downtime to just do our own thing. There was never a rush or any pressure. I loved the release ceremony, that was really great and gave us an opportunity to be vulnerable. The hike was fun, adventurous, and not too strenuous! Yelling, not once but three times was so freeing, and doing this all together as a group is a really wonderful memory I have! And you had snacks for us! Wow you didn’t miss a beat!!!”

It was an adventure, a learning experience and a disconnect from my hectic life

“I went to Guatemala looking for a break from winter. What I got was so much more than I expected. It was an adventure, a learning experience (espresso and chocolate anyone?), and a disconnect from my hectic life. Going to the more popular places in Central America is much like the U.S. further south. While that is easy, it is not much more than that. Guatemala is a magical place that is a once-in-a-lifetime destination that would not have been possible without Jessica’s contacts, language skills, extensive travel experience, and knowledge of the area. As a person who likes to have everything under my control, I was amazed that I could place myself in Jessica’s care and have the visit of a lifetime and have an experience that I will never forget.”

Every aspect of the trip was planned perfectly

“I have long had a desire to visit Central America thinking that it would be a good place to escape Montana winter for a month or so. Warm weather, affordable, and relatively close. Guatemala was not high on my list of destinations with a vague notion that it was not safe or widely reported like Costa Rica, Belize, or the Dominican Republic. Jessica convinced me that I could get a lot more out of a visit to lake Atitlan in Guatemala and that it would be all that I was looking for and a lot more. So I suppressed my skepticism and followed her lead. I did absolutely nothing to prepare other than to block out the dates on my calendar and ask when to show up at the airport knowing from past experience on an epic tour of South America that Jessica knew what she was doing. Every aspect of the trip was planned perfectly. I wouldn’t have changed a thing and had the experience of a lifetime. It far exceeded my expectations! 

Each day was thoughtfully planned to visit other villages around the lake by boat with tours of coffee and chocolate processors, nature preserves, and wandering around like locals

“Each day was thoughtfully planned to visit other villages around the lake by boat with tours of coffee and chocolate processors, nature preserves, and wandering around like locals. We were most certainly not in “gringo” areas very much and I felt like I was transported to a simpler time long ago to the Mayan culture of the friendliest people I have ever met. There was also plenty of time to just soak in the place and people in a way that has to be experienced to appreciate.”

FAQs

What do I need to know about Guatemala?

Weather: You can expect the days to be in the high 70’s to low 80’s during the day and cooling off into the 50’s or 60’s at night. Guatemala is a haven for local flora and a bird watcher’s dream! Look forward to incredible locally grown cacao, coffee and fruit as well as amazing textiles and bright paintings. Expect people to be on ‘Guatemala time’, especially on the lake! Water needs to be filtered or bottled (taken care of at the retreat centers). Plugs are standard 120v. 

Is this adventure or luxury?

A little bit of both. We will enjoy private, comfortable, nice and secure sleeping accomodations to ground and relax. But it’s important to remember that we will be in a country with fewer amenities overall. Be prepared for winding drives to the lake, bumpy boat rides that will take your breath away with the beautiful surroundings, and overall things working differently than in the states. Please let Jess know if you tend to experience motion sickness. We’ve created lots of buffer time for any delays. And have chosen top acomodations to make our stay as safe, enjoyable and enticing as possible.

What’s not included?

Airfare. I’ll let you know which flight we’re taking out of the country together (typically out of Houston), and you book the flights to get to Houston, then also to our chosen destination. That way you can choose your own comfort level, extend the trip to your liking, etc. Also, shopping and tips! Supporting the local communities in the places we visit is one of our top priorities. A great way to do this in addition to the places we stay and the locals we hire for you is to do some shopping and consider leaving a tip!

What is your cancellation policy?

Please be sure to read our retreat Terms & Conditions page. It is your responsibility to read and understand our cancellation policy before making a reservation.

Is it safe?

We think so. There’s a lot of misinformation regarding some of the places in Latin America. We’ve always done it by listening to the locals. Jess has friends in all of the Latin American countries we’re visiting and has been to all of them numerous times or lived there before (including bringing her 6-year-old!). We stick to the places that are safe for tourists and follow the local guidelines for staying safe (private cars, local guides, avoiding certain areas). We love to change people’s perspectives about what they think a place is like from the news, versus what it’s actually like when there. If you have more questions, feel free to reach out!

Why this over any other retreat or planned vacation?

Once you step off the plane, everything is included, guided, and you get the best of what each place has to offer. Our goal is for you to know what’s happening, and feel excited by the itinerary, but know that you can show up and not have to worry about a single logistic! You get a bilingual guide (Jess!) who has spent ample time in Guatemala and can show you around safely, help you get immersed into the people and places in ways that your average visitor would miss, and really integrate and deepen the experience through yoga, rituals, and ceremonies. We’re with you the whole way, including pre-trip and post-trip guidance for integration and preparation.

Why Latin America?

I’ve lived and traveled all over the world and Latin America truly has my heart. I find that so much of this part of the world is really misrepresented and it’s a mission of mine to show what these people and cultures are actually like – nothing short of magic. I’ve found these cultures to be immersed in spirituality and the natural world in ways that we tend to lack in our modern society. They bring me back home and provide the richest experiences life has to offer through their rituals and ways of being. Being fluent in Spanish and having connections in each of the locations is also a way to go way beyond surface exploration and get straight to the heart of connection that can be experienced when willing to go a little beyond our comfort zone and find something on the other side that is as empowering and enriching as it gets.

Jess holding her hair and looking away

More Questions?

Book a free 15 minute call with Jess, your retreat guide, to answer all your questions and see if this retreat could be a good fit for you!

Jess is a yogi, energy healer, doula, Ayurvedic Women’s Health Specialist, and world traveller. She has run an adventure tourism agency in northern Argentina and is also fluent in Spanish and has been a bilingual tour guide in South America. She studied with the Mayan midwives on Lake Atitlan in Guatemala and is passionate about supporting women on the deepest levels of nourishment & care.

Jess fell in love with doing yoga in Latin American countries, finding it to be way less focused on the physical and appearance, and instead entrenched in spirituality, ceremony, ritual, community, nature and connection.

Learn more about Jess here.

Jess holding her hair and looking away